Team preview: The Citadel

For the most comprehensive previews available on all 335 Division I teams, order the "Bible" of college basketball, the 2012-13 Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook, at www.blueribbonyearbookonline.com or call 1-877-807-4857.


The Citadel is not the sort of place where excuses are often made or accepted.

So while it may be true that the Bulldogs lost a handful of games in heartbreaking fashion, played a lot of young kids and struggled to get the ball in the basket, coach Chuck Driesell wasn't about to try to explain away his team's six-win season.

Instead, Driesell spent the offseason focusing on the work that lies ahead for his team.

"There were at least four or five that could have really gone either way, and if we win those, then we're really looking at a different situation," Driesell said. "But we weren't good enough to win them. That's where we were at, but the best thing about these guys is they got a little bit better every day, and they kept coming back, kept working hard.

The Citadel Bulldogs

"They knew they were young and they knew if they put in their work it would pay off down the road, and now we're anticipating that happening this season."

The offensive numbers told much of the story. The Bulldogs made less than 44 percent of their field goal attempts and averaged 64 points per game.

Given its meager offensive output, Driesell's team simply didn't have enough of a margin for error to win more than a handful of games. The added element of having so many freshmen in the rotation further complicated The Citadel's efforts.

"When you see stats like that on teams across the country, you'll see, for the most part, a young group of guys," Driesell said. "It's experience. It's repetitions. That's what our guys got a lot of."

Relying on freshmen makes life difficult for any basketball coach, but it is especially tough at The Citadel where freshmen must endure a year as a knob. The majority of the players on Driesell's roster spent every day last season waking up at the crack of dawn and spending every waking moment completing a rite of passage that left little in the tank when it came time to practice or play.

"Mentally, I think there is a big burden lifted off of them because they don't have to do what they did last year as a knob," Driesell said. "They know they'll be able to rest, they'll be able to eat better, they'll be able to be not as stressed out. It's such a rigorous schedule that a freshman has to conquer."

Through all of the rugged play last season, Mike Groselle (16.7 ppg, 9.6 rpg) was rock solid. As the only player on the team with any significant experience, Groselle earned all-conference honors while leading The Citadel in scoring and rebounding.

The 6-8 senior center will once again be the focal point for the Bulldogs this season, and Driesell is hopeful he won't be the only standout performer this time around.

"I think you saw he carried his load. I was really impressed with his play," Driesell said. "He's one of those blue-collar workers, but he needs help. For us to get where we want to be and have a chance to compete for a conference championship, we need some help."

That's where the large group of returning sophomores comes into the equation. Driesell is banking on the large class to come into its own this season after a year of on-the-job training.

Guards Marshall Harris III (4.5 ppg, 2.5 apg), Ashton Moore (7.4 ppg) and Lawrence Miller (6.2 ppg) were all in the mix as freshmen last season. The same goes for forwards C.J. Bray (4.3 ppg, 3.5 rpg) and P.J. Horgan (1.8 ppg, 1.8 rpg).

Harris is back after playing primarily at the point guard slot. The 6-1 sophomore averaged about 19 minutes per night and started 11 games.

Driesell is hopeful Harris expands his leadership role on a team lacking upperclassmen.

"Marshall Harris played quite a bit of point guard for us, and he is really conscious of that leadership role that comes with playing point guard," Driesell said. "He wants to be a leader, and I expect that he will give us some of that leadership."

Developing consistency will be the main goal for Moore, a 6-0 guard who poured in 30 points in a win over Virginia-Wise yet failed to average double figures.

"He has the ability to score, he just petered out at the end, but that's typical for a freshman," Driesell said. "I think he'll be able to score some baskets for us."

On a team that struggled to shoot from the outside, Miller provided the Bulldogs with a deep threat. The 6-1 guard connected on nearly 42 percent of his 3-point attempts, a percentage that ranked third in the league.

With a 6-7, 249-pound frame, Bray brings a world of potential to the court. Driesell noted that the forward made progress over the summer and should be primed to increase his scoring output.

The 6-8 Horgan gained some experience last season and will have the opportunity to expend his role this year.

Matt Van Scyoc (6-6, 210), Janeil Jenkins (5-10, 175) and Raemond Robinson (6-3, 190) are all freshmen looking to break into the lineup this season. As knobs, it will be an uphill fight, but Driesell sees some potential in the class, especially in Van Scyoc.

"One of the reasons we signed him is we thought he could put the ball in the hole as a freshman," Driesell said.






Being the son of the legendary coach Lefty Driesell has its benefits when you decide to enter the profession.

But for all the valuable basketball lessons Chuck Driesell picked up from his father, the experiences he gained while serving for three years in the Navy might make him the right man at the right time for The Citadel.

With so many of his players adjusting to life inside the walls of a service academy last season, Driesell's military background gave him some insight into the adjustments his freshmen were going through.

"Until they get here, you're not sure exactly how they're going to deal with it," Driesell said. "What I brought to the table was helping young men get through that, knowing what I had seen at the Naval Academy, what we went up against and struggled with.

"I felt like I had a feel for helping them through it."

Moving forward, the immediate goal is progress. Barring a miraculous leap forward by the sophomore class, The Citadel won't be competing for a conference title this season.

But the Bulldogs must take a step forward, and despite the scoring struggles of a year ago, Driesell believes that starts by improving on the defensive end of the floor.

"We're going to have to play much better defense and we're going to have to rebound the ball better," Driesell said. "The offense -- that will get better."

For the most comprehensive previews available on all 335 Division I teams, order the "Bible" of college basketball, the 2012-13 Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook, at www.blueribbonyearbookonline.com or call 1-877-807-4857.